Liverpool striker, Divock Origi and Tottenham Hotspur’s Victor Wanyama are the talk of Kenya ahead of Saturday’s European Champions League final in Madrid.
In Kenya, there is hope that the two players can shine a positive spotlight on it as fans relish the prospect of a key Kenyan role, even if Origi is of Kenyan origin but Belgian-born.
While Kenyan fans already have the feast of the Africa Cup of Nations to look forward to in June, the Champions League final is dividing opinion on the training ground at Nairobi club, Ligi Ndogo.
“This is the first time two players of Kenyan origin will take part in a Champion’s League final,” says 28-year-old youth coach, Kenneth Amolo.
“Wanyama and Origi will represent Kenya on the world stage, it’s great.”
Another youth coach taking a break from action, Lawrence Omondi, tells reporters he’ll be supporting Spurs.
“Wanyama is the captain of our national side, and he is our best player, so we have to back him.”
“We have to back the captain of the national side, right,” he insisted of Wanyama, who won his first Kenya full international cap at 15.
Wanyama is a solid central midfielder but is also the first Kenyan to score in the European Champions League back when he starred for Celtic, netting in an unforgettable win over Barcelona.
The stocky Wanyama has only started 13 Premier League games this season but has turned out six times so far in the Champions League and is highly thought of by the Spurs faithful.
Origi, for his part, has already made a huge Champions League impact at Anfield, scoring two goals in Liverpool’s sensational comeback against Barcelona in this year’s semi-final.
And while Origi, who transferred from French club Lille to Liverpool in 2014, plays for Belgium, he also enjoys huge support in Kenya as the son of a former Kenya football captain, Mike Okoth.
His dad is famous for making the unusual transition from ‘keeper to striker.
“He was born and bred in Belgium, but he still has a link with Kenya,” says Austin Oduor, Origi’s uncle and himself a former Kenya international.
“He comes here regularly and he speaks good Swahili,” he added of the language that along with English is Kenya’s official tongue.
The pair also represent different ethnic groups in a highly diverse nation.
“Origi is from a Luo family, and Wanyama from a Luhya family,” says sports journalist Elias Makori.
These two ethnic groups are historically associated with football in Kenya, with the Luo and Luhya supporting rival clubs, Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards respectively.
The Champions League final has even been renamed the “Mashemeji derby” by Kenyans in reference to the derby between those two clubs.
“Previously people have been saying the Champions League is a tournament for foreign players, but now it is coming closer to home,” said Makori.
Austrian, Rosenberger, Triumphant at 2019 Safaricom East African Safari Classic Rally
After 9 exhilarating race days across Kenya and Tanzania, Kris Rosenberger emerged as the new Safaricom East African Safari Classic Rally champion, after powering his Tuthill Porsche 911 to victory in Mombasa on Saturday.
The Austrian and co-driver Nicola Bleicher finished ahead of 2015 Safari Classic champion Stig Blomqvist, also in a Porsche 911. Rosenberger held a 1 minute 19.40 seconds advantage over Blomqvist before the final stage and went on to finish second in the final Mombasa Cement stage. The Austrian, who last rallied in Kenya in 1989, cruised to the finish of the 9-day endurance rally to claim victory by 13:01:48.
“It was a fantastic rally, our tactics were 100% right. We know Stig, he is obviously the best and we knew if we stay close to him and we had the pace and as we rallied through the last stage we pushed really hard. We also know that it’s really hard to beat Blomqvist and we are aware of that for sure. He had more problems than us and we still think he is the man and we are happy to be here”, said Rosenberger.
Blomqvist, navigated by compatriot Jorgen Fornander, applied his extensive experience in endurance rallying when things got tougher in the last two days of the rally. In the last section on Friday, his Porsche 911 steering dumper broke 50Km into the last stage, while on Saturday, he had a soft roll in the last Mombasa Cement stage thus losing some time and ultimately placing second.
Kabras Sugar Racing’s Onkar Rai completed the podium dash, finishing third in a Porsche 911 navigated by Drew Sturrock. Onkar managed to post the fastest times in 6 out of the 20 run competitive stages.
“I span in this last stage and luckily we are here. To be honest, it’s been a quick safari and to be able to beat people like Stig is a pretty big achievement for me. Drew has been on the notes and I have been on the pace. We had a bit of bad luck, it’s part of rallying and we get over it and we would like to be back in 2021, Onkar said.
Other best placed Kenyans include Onkar’s older brother Tejveer Rai/Gavin Laurence who finished 8th, ALS Motorsports Aslam Khan/Imran Khan who finished 11th,, while Kabras Sugar Racing’s Baldev Charger/Ravi Sini finished 14th.
Another notable driver who emerged as the new driver to watch was 27-year-old Welshman Osian Pryce, navigated by fellow countryman Dale Furnish. Osian set the quickest time in the prologue and went on to rack up the fastest times in 4 stages, including the 14Km last stage at Mombasa Cement in Kenya’s Kilifi County.
Local rally ace Baldev Charger was the events front runner in the early days, before falling behind. He did however, manage to post fastest times in 4 stages. Out of the 20 competitors that started the 3,390km journey, 17 survived the demanding course across Kenya and Tanzania. Italy’s Gilberto Sandretto navigated by legend Fabrizia Ponz, was forced to end his run, citing important personal reasons back at home that he had to attend to. Another exit was Kenya’s Rommy Bhamra who left the rally unexplained.
staying true to the nature of the safari classic rally, the weather played a
major role in the cancellation or revision of several stages: The Day 3
itinerary was cancelled after torrential rain and subsequent flash floods
rendered several sectors of the stages impassable, forcing the organizers to
give the competitors a near full extra day service in Arusha, Tanzania.
Liz Young establishes lead at Kenya Ladies Open tournament
tropical weather posed a slight challenge for Liz, who admitted being unaccustomed to playing in such hot weather.
The first round of the Magical Kenya Ladies Open is underway at Vipingo Ridge in Vipingo, Kenya, 30km north of Mombasa on the Mombasa-Malindi Highway. The Pro-Am commenced on December 4th, with the official tournament taking place between December 5th and 8th.
England’s Liz Young, who started in the first pairing from the 10th hole at 7.30 am on Friday, made a brilliant start and took the clubhouse lead on four-under-par 68.
Esther Henseleit needs a win to have a chance of winning the order of merit this week, then came in with a three-under 69, while Cheyenne Woods is the next best-placed player in the clubhouse on two-under-par.
The tropical weather posed a slight challenge for Liz, who admitted being unaccustomed to playing in such hot weather.
“I was on the range warming up this morning and my hands were getting very sweaty, which is unusual for me and I had to change my glove, which is something I never have to do. I knew the ball was going to fly a bit and the last hour on the golf course the cloud cover came in and cooled it down a bit. First thing, it was quite hot out there.”
The tournament features a total of 108 women players from 28 countries, who are set to compete for the top prize of Kes 5million.
Kenya win 2019 CECAFA Senior Women’s Challenge Cup
Both teams had gone into the final unbeaten and without conceding a goal.
Kenya have defeated hosts Tanzania 2-0 to win the 2019 CECAFA Senior Women’s Challenge Cup. Striker Jentrix Shikangwa came off the bench in the second half to score a brace to guide Kenya to victory.
Both teams had gone into the final unbeaten and without conceding a goal. The defeat left Tanzanian fans disappointed after their side had won the previous two Cecafa Women’s titles in 2016 and 2018.
Earlier Uganda beat Burundi 2-0 to win the third-place play-off thank to goals from substitutes Shamira Nalujja and Amina Nababi.
Kenya’s Shikangwa won the top scorers’ award with 10 goals, while the Golden Glove Award went to Kenyan goalkeeper Annedy Kundu who did not concede a single goal in the whole tournament.
Tanzania’s Omary Mwanahamisi was voted Most Valuable Player and Tanzania bagged the Fair Play Award.
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